Date Published: 18 Jun 2013
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam today telephoned Indonesian Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Marty Natalegawa to express Singapore's concern about the worsening haze situation. Separately, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan spoke to the Indonesian Environment Minister Prof Dr Balthasar Kambuaya to register our strong concerns.
The Singapore Ministers highlighted that Singapore’s PSI had breached 150 the day before, and had entered into the unhealthy zone. They emphasized the urgency of the situation while also reaffirming Singapore’s commitment to help Indonesia fight the fires in Sumatra.
Minister Balakrishnan requested that Indonesia share relevant information to improve monitoring of hotspots and land clearing activities. This had been agreed between Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand in October 2012. Both Minister Shanmugam and Minister Balakrishnan referred to the claim by an Indonesian Forestry Ministry official in the media that Malaysian and Singapore palm oil companies that had invested in Indonesia may be responsible for starting the fires in Riau. They asked Indonesia to share the names of errant companies involved in illegal burning, though primary responsibility to take legal and enforcement actions against these companies lies with Indonesia as they have clearly violated Indonesian laws within Indonesian jurisdiction.
Minister Balakrishnan also reiterated that Singapore is ready to continue collaborating with Indonesia at the provincial level to mitigate the haze problem, as agreed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the recently held Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat in April 2013.
Ministers Marty and Balthasar offered their assurances that Indonesia would address the haze problem. Minister Shanmugam and Minister Marty agreed that bilateral and regional cooperation could be further strengthened to tackle the haze problem, and that Indonesian Environment and Forestry officials could discuss with their Singapore counterparts ways to
better cooperate and deal with the haze issue.
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES